James Joyce

Novelist, Author

1882 – 1941

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Who was James Joyce?

James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century. Joyce is best known for Ulysses, a landmark work in which the episodes of Homer's Odyssey are paralleled in an array of contrasting literary styles, perhaps most prominent among these the stream of consciousness technique he perfected. Other major works are the short-story collection Dubliners, and the novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Finnegans Wake. His complete oeuvre also includes three books of poetry, a play, occasional journalism, and his published letters.

Joyce was born into a middle class family in Dublin, where he excelled as a student at the Jesuit schools Clongowes and Belvedere, then at University College Dublin. In his early twenties he emigrated permanently to continental Europe, living in Trieste, Paris and Zurich. Though most of his adult life was spent abroad, Joyce's fictional universe does not extend far beyond Dublin, and is populated largely by characters who closely resemble family members, enemies and friends from his time there; Ulysses in particular is set with precision in the streets and alleyways of the city. Shortly after the publication of Ulysses he elucidated this preoccupation somewhat, saying, "For myself, I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal."

Famous Quotes:

  • When the Irishman is found outside of Ireland in another environment, he very often becomes a respected man. The economic and intellectual conditions that prevail in his own country do not permit the development of individuality. No one who has any self-respect stays in Ireland, but flees afar as though from a country that has undergone the visitation of an angered Jove.
  • A man's errors are his portals of discovery.
  • No pen, no ink, no table, no room, no time, no quiet, no inclination.
  • Our civilization, bequeathed to us by fierce adventurers, eaters of meat and hunters, is so full of hurry and combat, so busy about many things which perhaps are of no importance, that it cannot but see something feeble in a civilization which smiles as it refuses to make the battlefield the test of excellence.
  • I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it call itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use --silence, exile and cunning.
  • Love (understood as the desire of good for another) is in fact so unnatural a phenomenon that it can scarcely repeat itself, the soul being unable to become virgin again and not having energy enough to cast itself out again into the ocean of another's soul.
  • You forget that the kingdom of heaven suffers violence: and the kingdom of heaven is like a woman.
  • I shall write a book some day about the appropriateness of names. Geoffrey Chaucer has a ribald ring, as is proper and correct, and Alexander Pope was inevitably Alexander Pope. Colley Cibber was a silly little man without much elegance and Shelley was very Percy and very Bysshe.
  • What did that mean, to kiss? You put your face up like that to say goodnight and then his mother put her face down. That was to kiss. His mother put her lips on his cheek; her lips were soft and they wetted his cheek; and they made a tiny little noise: kiss. Why did people do that with their two faces?
  • He comes into the world God knows how, walks on the water, gets out of his grave and goes up off the Hill of Howth. What drivel is this?

Citation

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"James Joyce." Biographies.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 23 Oct. 2019. <https://www.biographies.net/people/en/james_joyce>.


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Born
Feb 2, 1882
Rathgar
Also known as
  • Joyce, James
Parents
Siblings
Spouses
Children
Religion
  • Agnosticism
  • Catholicism
Nationality
  • Ireland
Profession
Education
  • Belvedere College
  • Clongowes Wood College
  • University College Dublin - National University of Ireland, Dublin
Lived in
  • County Dublin
Died
Jan 13, 1941
Zürich
Resting place
Zürich

Submitted
on July 23, 2013